KR101411329B1 - Front-end charging system that generates charging data per entity having a revenue share - Google Patents

Front-end charging system that generates charging data per entity having a revenue share Download PDF

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Publication number
KR101411329B1
KR101411329B1 KR1020127002305A KR20127002305A KR101411329B1 KR 101411329 B1 KR101411329 B1 KR 101411329B1 KR 1020127002305 A KR1020127002305 A KR 1020127002305A KR 20127002305 A KR20127002305 A KR 20127002305A KR 101411329 B1 KR101411329 B1 KR 101411329B1
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South Korea
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billing
revenue
call
rules
charging
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KR1020127002305A
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Korean (ko)
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KR20120061807A (en
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이강 카이
시앙양 리
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알까뗄 루슨트
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Priority to PCT/US2009/049255 priority Critical patent/WO2011002450A1/en
Publication of KR20120061807A publication Critical patent/KR20120061807A/en
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    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M15/00Arrangements for metering, time-control or time indication ; Metering, charging or billing arrangements for voice wireline or wireless communications, e.g. VoIP
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M15/00Arrangements for metering, time-control or time indication ; Metering, charging or billing arrangements for voice wireline or wireless communications, e.g. VoIP
    • H04M15/41Billing record details, i.e. parameters, identifiers, structure of call data record [CDR]
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M15/00Arrangements for metering, time-control or time indication ; Metering, charging or billing arrangements for voice wireline or wireless communications, e.g. VoIP
    • H04M15/44Augmented, consolidated or itemized billing statement or bill presentation
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M15/00Arrangements for metering, time-control or time indication ; Metering, charging or billing arrangements for voice wireline or wireless communications, e.g. VoIP
    • H04M15/50Arrangements for metering, time-control or time indication ; Metering, charging or billing arrangements for voice wireline or wireless communications, e.g. VoIP for cross-charging network operators
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M15/00Arrangements for metering, time-control or time indication ; Metering, charging or billing arrangements for voice wireline or wireless communications, e.g. VoIP
    • H04M15/53Arrangements for metering, time-control or time indication ; Metering, charging or billing arrangements for voice wireline or wireless communications, e.g. VoIP using mediation
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M15/00Arrangements for metering, time-control or time indication ; Metering, charging or billing arrangements for voice wireline or wireless communications, e.g. VoIP
    • H04M15/54Arrangements for metering, time-control or time indication ; Metering, charging or billing arrangements for voice wireline or wireless communications, e.g. VoIP for revenue sharing
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M15/00Arrangements for metering, time-control or time indication ; Metering, charging or billing arrangements for voice wireline or wireless communications, e.g. VoIP
    • H04M15/55Arrangements for metering, time-control or time indication ; Metering, charging or billing arrangements for voice wireline or wireless communications, e.g. VoIP for hybrid networks
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M15/00Arrangements for metering, time-control or time indication ; Metering, charging or billing arrangements for voice wireline or wireless communications, e.g. VoIP
    • H04M15/57Arrangements for metering, time-control or time indication ; Metering, charging or billing arrangements for voice wireline or wireless communications, e.g. VoIP for integrated multimedia messaging subsystem [IMS]
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M15/00Arrangements for metering, time-control or time indication ; Metering, charging or billing arrangements for voice wireline or wireless communications, e.g. VoIP
    • H04M15/59Arrangements for metering, time-control or time indication ; Metering, charging or billing arrangements for voice wireline or wireless communications, e.g. VoIP based on real time
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04WWIRELESS COMMUNICATION NETWORKS
    • H04W4/00Services specially adapted for wireless communication networks; Facilities therefor
    • H04W4/24Accounting or billing
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M2215/00Metering arrangements; Time controlling arrangements; Time indicating arrangements
    • H04M2215/01Details of billing arrangements
    • H04M2215/0104Augmented, consolidated or itemised billing statement, e.g. additional billing information, bill presentation, layout, format, e-mail, fax, printout, itemised bill per service or per account, cumulative billing, consolidated billing
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M2215/00Metering arrangements; Time controlling arrangements; Time indicating arrangements
    • H04M2215/01Details of billing arrangements
    • H04M2215/0164Billing record, e.g. Call Data Record [CDR], Toll Ticket[TT], Automatic Message Accounting [AMA], Call Line Identifier [CLI], details, i.e. parameters, identifiers, structure
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M2215/00Metering arrangements; Time controlling arrangements; Time indicating arrangements
    • H04M2215/01Details of billing arrangements
    • H04M2215/0172Mediation, i.e. device or program to reformat CDRS from one or more switches in order to adapt to one or more billing programs formats
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M2215/00Metering arrangements; Time controlling arrangements; Time indicating arrangements
    • H04M2215/20Technology dependant metering
    • H04M2215/2026Wireless network, e.g. GSM, PCS, TACS
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M2215/00Metering arrangements; Time controlling arrangements; Time indicating arrangements
    • H04M2215/20Technology dependant metering
    • H04M2215/204UMTS; GPRS
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M2215/00Metering arrangements; Time controlling arrangements; Time indicating arrangements
    • H04M2215/20Technology dependant metering
    • H04M2215/2046Hybrid network
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M2215/00Metering arrangements; Time controlling arrangements; Time indicating arrangements
    • H04M2215/20Technology dependant metering
    • H04M2215/208IMS, i.e. Integrated Multimedia messaging Subsystem
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M2215/00Metering arrangements; Time controlling arrangements; Time indicating arrangements
    • H04M2215/52Interconnection, inter-exchange, reseller billing, billing agreements between different operators, e.g. billing identifier added on the CDR in order to cross charge the other operator, inter-operator accounting, reconciliation, bill directly resellers customers

Abstract

Billing systems and methods for determining a dividend of call revenue for multiple entities are disclosed. One embodiment includes a billing controller coupled to a mobile network and an online billing system. The billing controller receives billing data for the call in the mobile network and processes billing data and billing rules to identify entities that have a dividend of revenue for the call. The billing controller generates a billing request message indicating entities having a revenue share in the call and sends a billing request message to the online billing system to allow the online billing system to determine a revenue dividend for each of the entities.

Description

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention [0001] The present invention relates to a front-end accounting system for generating accounting data for each entity having a profit-

FIELD OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to the field of communication networks and, more particularly, to charging and billing in communication networks.

When a telephone call is placed on a communications network, there may be multiple entities sharing the revenue received for that call. For example, a network operator who actually operates and maintains the network over which the call is placed shares revenue. If the call is extended to a foreign communication network, for example, for international calls, the network operator of the foreign communication network shares the revenue for the call. When a call is extended to a roaming mobile user, the network operator of the mobile network to which the user is roaming shares revenue. The process of determining which entities share the return of a call is sometimes referred to as mediation.

In conventional communication networks, charging functions for calls are implemented by network components such as switches. The switches collect billing data for the calls and generate a Charging Detail Record (CDR) containing the billing data. All switches on the entire network forward the CDRs to the billing system at the provider's IT system (often referred to as a back-end or back-office billing system). The back-office billing system stores information that may be used for the reconciliation process. For example, the billing system stores contracts with foreign network operators for international calls that a network operator may have, and stores contracts with mobile networks for roaming scenarios that a network operator may have. The billing system also invoices consumers for telephone services and performs billing processes to provide vouchers or credits to other entities.

In more recent billing architectures, postpaid billing is implemented through the Office Billing System (OFCS) and associated billing system. Similarly, prepaid billing is implemented through an online billing system (OCS) and associated billing system. To provide offline and online billing, OCS and billing systems each have their own rating engine. The billing systems also have profiles for subscribers, profiles for wholesale customers, and profiles for other network operators with contracts, respectively. The overlap of rating engines and profiles wastes considerable resources in the network. The operational inefficiencies and technical overhead of having two separate billing systems may lead to drawbacks in marketing and business activities for network operators. Currently, network operators are under great pressure to reduce operating costs.

The embodiments described herein may use a centralized billing system to manage the flow of revenue to the appropriate entities for the call. The centralized billing system focuses on prepaid, postpaid, interconnect charging, wholesale charging, content charging, and roaming charging. Thus, revenues for a call may be distributed among multiple entities based on applicable billing types. This will significantly reduce the work in the back office and create near-real-time billing. The centralized billing system also allows rating or billing-related activities to share a common rating engine and common account balance management functions, which reduces the cost of system deployment, operation, and maintenance.

One embodiment includes a billing controller coupled to a mobile network and an online billing system. The billing controller is operable to receive charging data for the call in the mobile network and to process billing data and billing rules for the call to identify entities having a dividend of revenue for the call. The billing controller is further operable to generate a billing request message indicating entities having a revenue share in the call and to send the billing request message to an online billing system to cause the online billing system to determine a revenue dividend for each of the entities Do.

In another embodiment, the online billing system is operable to receive a billing request message from the billing controller and to identify a profile for each of the entities with revenue sharing. The online billing system is also operative to determine a revenue share for each of the entities based on a profile or rating of the entities, to generate accounting records indicative of a revenue share for each of the entities, and to transmit the accounting records to the accounting controller It is possible.

In yet another embodiment, the billing controller also receives billing records, correlates billing records to generate an aggregated billing record indicative of a revenue share for each of the entities, and transmits the aggregated billing record to the billing system It is possible.

Other exemplary embodiments may be described below.

The present invention provides a method for managing the flow of revenue to appropriate entities for a call using a centralized billing system.

1 illustrates a communication network in an exemplary embodiment;
2 is a flow chart illustrating a method for billing for a call by generating billing data for each entity having a revenue dividend in an exemplary embodiment;
3 is a flow chart illustrating a method of determining revenue sharing for multiple entities in an exemplary embodiment;
4 depicts a flowchart illustrating a method of correlating billing records in an exemplary embodiment;
5 illustrates another communication network in an exemplary embodiment;
6 is a diagram illustrating how revenue for a call is distributed among entities in an exemplary embodiment;
7 is a message diagram illustrating how revenue for a call is distributed in an exemplary embodiment;

Now, some embodiments of the invention are described by way of example and with reference to the accompanying drawings. Like numbers refer to like elements or elements of the same type in all figures.

The drawings and the following description illustrate specific exemplary embodiments of the invention. Thus, it will be appreciated that a person of ordinary skill in the art will be able to devise various arrangements which, although not explicitly described or shown herein, embody the principles of the invention and are within the scope of the invention. In addition, any examples described herein are intended to aid in the understanding of the principles of the invention and should not be construed as limited to the specifically described examples and conditions. As a result, the present invention is not limited to the specific embodiments or examples described below but is defined by the claims and their equivalents.

FIG. 1 illustrates a communication network 100 in an exemplary embodiment. The communication network 100 includes a mobile network 102, a billing system 104, and a billing system 106. The mobile network 102 may comprise a circuit-based network, such as a CDMA network or a GSM network, and may include a packet-based network such as an IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) network, or may be a mixture of the two. The mobile network 102 may provide services to the mobile devices 140, 141 to initiate data sessions and to place voice calls to transmit or receive text messages or multimedia messages, and the like. Mobile network 102 includes a plurality of network elements 112, 113 operable to serve sessions / calls within mobile network 102 or to provide services for sessions / calls. For example, the network element 112 may include a serving-call session control function (S-CSCF), and the network element 113 may include an application server AS in the IMS network. Alternatively, the network element 112 may comprise a mobile switching center (MSC), and the network element 113 may comprise an SGSN of a UMTS network.

The billing system 104 includes any system, server, or function that is operable to provide online / offline billing for sessions / calls in the mobile network 102. Billing system 104 may generate consolidated billing records for sessions / calls within mobile network 102 and send CDRs to billing system 106 for online / offline billing. The billing system 104 includes an online billing system (OCS) 112, a billing controller 124, and an off-line billing system (OFCS) 126. OCS 122 includes a common rating engine 132 that may be shared by OCS 122 and OFCS 126 and may include other functions not shown. The OFCS 126 may also be configured to provide the same functions as the Charge Data Function (CDF) / Charging Gateway Function (CGF) as defined by 3GPP in Release 6 or the Charge Collector Function (CCF) as defined by 3GPP in Release 5 , And may include various features not shown for simplicity.

The billing system 106 may be any system, server, or other device that is operable to receive an integrated billing record for a session / call and to invoice, issue a voucher or credit to one or more customers for the session / Or function.

For a call, billing of various other types may be involved. Some common types of charges are: One type of billing is called retail charging. Retail billing occurs between a mobile network operator (MNO) or a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) and an end user. Thus, retail billing specifies how end users pay for services provided by the MNO (or MVNO).

Other types of billing are referred to as wholesale (or MVNO) billing. Wholesale billing occurs between MVNO and MNO. Wholesale customers purchase mobile products and services from MNO for resale. Wholesale billing specifies how the MVNO pays for the services provided by the MNO.

Other types of charges are referred to as content charges. Content billing occurs between the content provider and the MNO (or MVNO). The content provider supplies some content / services to the end users via the MNO / MVNO network. Accordingly, the content charge specifies how the MNO / MVNO pays for the content supplied by the content provider.

Other types of charges are referred to as interconnect charges. Interconnection charges occur between MNOs and other network operators. When the call is originated in the network of the MNO but is terminated in the network of another operator (or vice versa), the interconnection charge specifies how the MNO pays for services provided by other network operators.

Another type of billing is called roaming billing. Roaming charges occur between MNOs and other MNOs serving roaming users. When an end-user of one MNO (visiting MNO) roams in a network of another MNO (visited MNO), the roaming charge is calculated as follows: how the visiting MNO pays for the services provided by the visited MNO And the like.

There may be other types of charges that apply to the description provided below. One common thread for each of these billing types is that multiple entities share the revenues of the call. Thus, revenue must be distributed sometime and appropriately assigned to each of the entities. In a conventional accounting architecture, a billing system generates CDRs that include billing data for a call. The back-office billing system then processes the billing data from the CDRs to distribute revenue to the call to the entities with the dividends. Thus, the revenue is distributed in the back-office systems instead of the actual billing system. In the embodiment described below, a new billing controller 124 is implemented in the billing architecture to distribute revenue. Thus, entities that share revenue for a call are identified in billing system 104 instead of back office systems.

It is assumed for this embodiment that the mobile device 140 is involved in a call through the mobile network 102. One or both of the network elements 112 and 113 may provide a service for the call and may generate accounting data to provide the service. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that other mobile networks (not shown) and other fixed networks (not shown) may also be involved in the call. The network elements 112 and 113 then send billing data to the billing system 104. [ For example, if prepaid billing is applied to a call, network elements 112 and 113 may send a Diameter Ro Credit Control Request (CCR) to billing system 104. If postpaid billing is applied to the call, network elements 112 and 113 may send a Diameter Rf Accounting Request (ACR) to billing system 104. The billing controller 124 manages billing for the call as illustrated in FIG.

 2 is a flow chart illustrating a method 200 of charging for a call by generating billing data for each entity having an income dividend in an exemplary embodiment. Although the steps of method 200 are described with reference to communication network 100 in FIG. 1, those skilled in the art will appreciate that method 200 may be performed in other networks and systems. The steps of the flowcharts described herein are not necessarily inclusive and may include other steps not shown. The steps may also be performed in an alternate order.

In step 202, the billing controller 124 receives billing data for the call in the mobile network 102. The billing data may be received in a billing request message from the mobile network 102, such as Diameter Ro CCR or Diameter Rf ACR. Alternatively, billing data may be received at the CDR from OCS 122 or OFCS 126. In step 204, the billing controller 124 processes the billing data and billing rules for the call to identify entities that have a dividend on the call for the call. The billing controller 124 stores billing rules that define conditions for different types of billing. For example, billing rules may include retail rules that define conditions for retail billing. The billing rules may include drawing rules that define the conditions for the wholesale billing. The billing rules may include interconnecting rules that define conditions for interconnecting charges. The billing rules may include content rules that define conditions for content billing. The charging rules may include roaming rules that define conditions for roaming charges.

As an example, the billing controller 124 processes the call number and wholesale rules to determine if wholesale billing is applied and to determine the identity of the wholesale entity. The billing controller 124 may also process the called number and interconnection rules to determine if the interconnection charge is applicable and to determine the identity of the network operator entity providing the interconnection service. Based on the billing data, the billing controller 124 may generate a list of entities with a dividend of revenue for the call.

In step 206, the billing controller 124 generates a billing request message indicating entities with a revenue dividend in the call. For example, the billing controller 124 may create a Diameter Ro CCR and may insert identities of entities that share revenue with the CCR. In step 208, the billing controller 124 sends a billing request message to the OCS 122. The billing controller 124 may send an individual billing request message for each of the entities sharing the identified revenue or may send a single billing request message for all of the entities sharing the identified revenue. Based on the data included in the billing request message, the OCS 122 may determine a revenue dividend for each of the entities further illustrated in FIG.

3 is a flow chart illustrating a method 300 of determining revenue sharing for multiple entities in an exemplary embodiment. The steps of method 300 will be described with reference to communication network 100 in FIG. 1, but those skilled in the art will appreciate that method 300 may be performed on other networks and other systems. In step 302, the OCS 122 receives a billing request message from the billing controller 124. In step 304, the OCS 122 identifies a profile for each of the entities with revenue sharing as indicated in the billing request message. OCS 122 may maintain a database of profiles for each entity. For example, OCS 122 may maintain a profile for mobile device 140 that represents an end user's service plan subscription. The OCS 122 may maintain a profile of other MNOs with roaming agreements with the operators of the mobile network 102. The OCS 122 may maintain a profile of fixed networks having an interconnection agreement with an operator of the mobile network 102. The OCS 122 may also maintain a profile of content providers having contracts for supplying content to end users of the mobile network 102. [ Alternatively, the profiles may be maintained on an external database accessible to the OCS 122. [

At step 306, OCS 122 determines the revenue share for each of the entities based on the rating provided by rating engine 132 and the profile of the entities. For example, assume that the total billing for the call is $ 30. Based on the profiles and ratings, OCS 122 can determine that entity 1 shares $ 10 of revenue, entity 2 shares $ 10 of revenue, and entity 3 shares $ 10 of revenue. At step 308, the OCS 122 generates accounting records, such as CDRs, representing the revenue share for each of the entities. For example, the OCS 122 may generate an individual accounting record for each of the entities that represent the amount that the entity is to pay or the amount that is payable to the entity. The OCS 122 then sends billing records to the billing controller 124 at step 310.

The billing records generated by OCS 122 include a new set of data for each revenue sharing entity. The new set of data includes an entity ID that may be an end user subscriber ID, an MNO ID, an MVNO ID, a content provider ID, another network operator ID, and so on. The new set of data also includes billing types such as retail billing, wholesale billing, content billing, interconnect billing, roaming billing, and the like. The set of new data also includes revenue share. The revenue share represents the monetary amount that each entity must pay or that it can pay for each entity. The revenue share may be a cumulative amount per billing cycle, or a special call charge. For retail billing, the revenue share represents the service unit the end user pays to the MVNO / MNO. For wholesale billing, the fluid allocation represents the service unit that the MVNO pays to the MNO for network / service use. For content charging, the revenue sharing amount represents the service unit that the MNO pays for the content supplied by the content provider. For interconnection charges, the revenue share represents the service units that the MNO pays for other network operators interconnecting the call. For roaming charges, the revenue share represents the service units that the visited MNO pays to the visited MNO for the local user roaming in the external network.

4 is a flow chart illustrating a method 400 of correlating billing records in an exemplary embodiment. Although the steps of method 400 are described with reference to communication network 100 in FIG. 1, those skilled in the art will appreciate that method 400 may be performed in other networks and systems. In step 402, the billing controller 124 receives billing records for entities with revenue sharing. In step 404, the billing controller 124 correlates billing records to generate a consolidated billing record that represents the revenue share for each of the entities. The consolidated billing record also includes a new set of data for entities that share each revenue, such as entity ID, billing type, and revenue share. In step 406, the billing controller 124 sends the integrated CDR to the billing system 106.

The billing system 106 may then perform a settlement process based on the data contained in the consolidated billing records to generate billing invoices and generate vouchers or credits for entities sharing each revenue. The billing system 106 does not need to perform this process because the billing controller 124 has already distributed the revenue for the call in the consolidated billing record. The billing system 106 needs to issue vouchers to the appropriate entities for the revenue dividends shown in the consolidated billing records.

Examples

5 illustrates another communication network 500 in an exemplary embodiment. The communication network 500 includes a mobile network 502, a billing system 504, and a billing system 506. Mobile network 502 may provide mobile device 540 services to place voice calls, initiate data sessions, and send or receive text messages or multimedia messages. The billing system 504 includes an online billing system (OCS) 522, a billing controller 524, and an off-line billing system (OFCS) 526.

The OCS 522 handles online charging (or prepayment) for the calls in the mobile network 502. OCS 522 includes an online charging function (OCF) 530, an account balance management function (ABMF) 531, a rating engine 532, a profile database 533, and a toll database 534. OCS 522 is enhanced to perform multi-event accounting based on one request event (i.e., CCR). OCS 522 will use different subscription IDs of the request to individually access each account profile, and therefore OCS 522 will rate call charges for each entity. After the billing is completed, the OCS 522 will generate a CDR that represents the call cost of each entity, for example, retail billing, wholesale billing, content billing, interconnect billing, roaming billing, and the like.

The OCF 530 accesses the ABMF 531 and the rating engine 532 to exchange billing messages with network elements in the mobile network 502 and to manage online charging in the OCS 522 by performing other functions Includes any system, server, or functionality that is operable. The ABMF 531 includes any system, server, or function that is operable to manage accounts for users, and more specifically, to maintain the amount of a service unit in accounts of users. The rating engine 532 includes any system, server, or function that is operable to determine the cost of service usage in accordance with the fees defined by the network operator. The rating engine 532 will perform rate planning decisions by accessing the rate of each entity such as unit determination, pricing, charge determination, counter, and the like.

The rating engine 532 not only holds retail price plans for MVNO, content providers, or other operators and end-user service usage based on service level agreements, but also maintains a tariff plan for the MNO's partnership, such as price planning Hold. The OCF 530 will use the pricing index in each retail / partner's account profile to access the rate and determine the call charge for each entity.

The profile database 533 includes any database or data structure operable to store profiles for retail customers, wholesale customers, content providers, interconnect operators, roaming operators, and the like. Alternatively, the profile database 533 may store addresses for profiles to remotely access the profiles. The toll database 534 includes any database or data structure that is operable to store a toll or plan plan index. The rating engine 532 may perform rate planning decisions by accessing rate planning data for entities such as unit determination, pricing, rate determination, counters, and the like. The OCF 530 will use the rate plan index in each retail / partner's account profile to access the rating rate and determine the call charge for each entity.

The OFCS 526 handles offline charging (or postpaid) for the calls in the mobile network 502. The OFCS 526 may include a billing data function (CDF), a billing gateway function (CGF), or other billing elements not specifically shown in FIG.

The billing controller 524 includes any system, server, or function that is operable to control the overall billing for the calls in the mobile network 502. [ Billing controller 524 processes billing rules to determine which entities share revenue for calls in mobile network 502. [ The billing controller 524 then generates a separate Diameter Ro CCR for each of the revenue sharing entities and forwards the CCRs to the OCS 522 to determine the cost or amount payable to the entity.

For example, an end-user of the mobile device 540 may be an in-vehicle service that provides in-vehicle security, hands-free calling, turn-by-turn navigation, It is assumed that you subscribe to a service provided by a third party (OnStar Corporation). OnStar can be considered as MVNO in this example. OnStar rents mobile services from mobile network 502 operated by Verizon Wireless (or some other mobile service provider). Thus, Verizon Wireless may be considered an MNO for the end user in this example. It is also assumed that the end user of the mobile device 540 places the call (via the on-star service) to another end user. The Poor End User subscribes to services provided by other service providers, such as Vodafone in the United Kingdom. Thus, the border phone may be considered an MNO for the pseudo end user in this example.

It is also assumed that the total billing for the call from the calling end-user to the end-user is $ 30 and that the calling end-user is responsible for payment of the call. Figure 6 illustrates how revenue for a call is distributed among entities in an exemplary embodiment. In accordance with a retail agreement between calling end user 602 and onstar (MNVO 604), calling end user 602 pays $ 30 to MVNO 604 for the call. This is an example of retail billing. MVNO 402 (OnStar) leases mobile services from Verizon Wireless (MNO 606). In accordance with a wholesale agreement between MVNO 604 and MNO 606, MVNO 604 pays $ 20 to MNO 606 for mobile services. This is an example of wholesale billing. MNO 606 needs to connect to the external network operated by Border Phone (MNO 608) to connect the call to the pseudo end-user 610. In accordance with the interconnection agreement between MNO 606 and MNO 608, MNO 606 pays $ 10 to MNO 608 for the interconnection fee. This is an example of interconnection charges. Thus, the revenue for the call is distributed between MVNO 604 (OnStar), MNO 606 (Verizon Wireless), and MNO 608 (Border Phone). In the embodiment provided herein, the distribution of revenue is performed in the billing system instead of the back office systems. Figure 7 further illustrates how this is done.

Figure 7 is a message diagram illustrating how revenue for a call is distributed in an exemplary embodiment. The mobile network 502 sends a Diameter Ro CCR to the OCS 522. The CCR includes billing data for the call in the mobile network 502, such as an origination number, a called number, a time stamp, and the like. In this example, Diameter Ro CCR is received, but other charging messages such as INAP messages may be received in other examples. OCS 522 processes the subscription ID (subscription ID = MSISDN of the end user of mobile device 540) to access the account profile for the end user. Thereafter, the OCS 522 calculates the overall charge for the call, which is the $ 30 end user has to pay for the on-star. The OCS 522 also generates a rated CDR (CDR1) representing a call charge of $ 30 and transmits the rated CDR to the coordinating device (such as CDF or CGF) at the OFCS 526. The OFCS 526 then sends the rated CDR to the billing controller (CC) 524. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the OCS 522 may send the rated CDR directly to the billing controller (CC) 524.

In response to receiving a rated CDR having billing data for the call, the billing controller 524 processes the billing rules to identify which entities have the right to share revenue for the call. The following illustrates some exemplary rules for charging of different types that may be applied to a call.

Retail rules:

Rule 1: If the CDR is not rated, the caller side number belongs to the local operator, and the caller direction = outgoing call:

Retail billable entity = call side;

 Diameter Ro CCR [Subscription ID = MSISDN of calling party, subscription type = retail billing, ...] is triggered in OCS to determine call cost to calling party.

Rule 2: If the CDR is not rated, the called number belongs to the local operator, the call direction = end call and the subscriber is in the home zone:

The terminated local call is free to listen / accept;

Set the CDR as a free call.

Rule 3: If the CDR is not rated, the called number belongs to the local operator, the call direction = end call and the subscriber is in the roaming zone:

Retail billable entity = called side,

To determine the call cost to the called party, it triggers a Diameter Ro request to the OCS [Subscription ID = MSISDN of the called party, subscription type = Retail billing, ...].

Wholesale rules:

Rule 1: If the call side number belongs to the local operator, the call direction is outgoing call, and the prefix number of the call side number is MVNO call number:

Planning the MVNO ID based on the prefix number of the calling party number;

Wholesale billable entity = MVNO;

To determine the call cost for the MVNO, trigger the Diameter Ro CCR [Subscription ID = MVNO ID, Subscription Type = Wholesale Charge, ...] to OCS.

Rule 2:

If the called side number belongs to the local operator, the call direction = end call, the prefix number of the called side number is the MVNO call number, and the roaming zone is the subscriber location:

Planning the MVNO ID based on the prefix number of the called number;

Wholesale billable entity = MVNO;

To determine the call cost for the MVNO, trigger the Diameter Ro CCR [Subscription ID = MVNO ID, Subscription Type = Wholesale Charge, ...] to OCS.

Interconnection rules:

Rule 1: If the calling party number belongs to the local operator, the called party number does not belong to the local operator, and the call direction is outgoing call:

Planning an interconnect partner ID based on the prefix number of the calling party number;

Interconnect partner entity = Interconnect operator ID;

To determine the call cost for the interconnect partner, trigger Diameter Ro CCR [Subscription ID = Interconnection Operator ID, Subscription Type = Interconnection Charge, ...] in OCS.

Roaming rules:

Rule 1: If the calling party number does not belong to the local operator and the called party's visited PLMN belongs to the local operator:

Planning an inbound partner ID based on the prefix number of the calling party number;

Inbound Partner Entity = Inbound Partner ID;

To determine the call cost for an inbound roaming partner, trigger Diameter Ro CCR [Subscription ID = Inbound Partner ID, Subscription Type = Inbound Roaming Charge, ...] in OCS.

Content rules:

Rule 1: If the calling party number belongs to the local operator (service ID = xxx or Merchant ID = yyy or content provider = zzz):

Planning a content provider ID based on a service ID, a content ID, or a merchant ID;

To determine the call cost for the content provider, trigger the Diameter Ro CCR [Subscription ID = Content Provider ID, Subscription Type = Content Revenue Charge, ...] in OCS.

In this example, billing controller 524 processes the prefix number of mobile device 540 included in the wholesale rules and CDRs. Based on the wholesale rules, billing controller 524 determines that this is Verizon Wireless's MVNO number. Thus, the billing controller 524 plans an MVNO ID based on the IMSI prefix, where the MVNO ID is an identifier for the on-star. The billing controller 524 then sends a Diameter Ro CCR (with subscription ID = MVNO ID) to OCS 522.

The OCS 522 uses the MVNO ID in the CCR to access the on-star account profile in the profile database 533. The OCS 522 then determines the call charge for the MVNO, which is the amount ($ 20) that OnStar pays to Verizon Wireless. The OCS 522 then generates a rated CDR (CDR2) that includes a wholesale bill of $ 20 and transmits the rated CDR to the OFCS 526. [

The billing controller 524 also processes the interconnection rules and the prefix number of the called number in the CDR. Based on the interconnect rules, the billing controller 524 determines that the call is an interconnect call. Billing controller 524 plans an MNO ID based on the called number prefix, where MNO ID is an identifier for the border phone. The billing controller 524 then sends a Diameter Ro CCR (with subscription ID = MNO ID) to the OCS 522.

The OCS 522 uses the MNO ID in the CCR to access the Border Phone account profile in the profile database 533. Thereafter, the OCS 522 determines the call charge for the MNO, which is the amount ($ 10) Verizon Wireless pays to videophone. Thereafter, OCS 522 generates a rated CDR (CDR3) containing $ 10 of interconnection charges and transmits the rated CDR to OFCS 526. [

OFCS 526 correlates the three ranked CDRs to generate an integrated CDR that represents the revenue share for each of the entities. In this example, the integrated CDR represents retail billing of $ 30, wholesale billing of $ 20, and interconnected billing of $ 10. An integrated CDR includes a new set of data for entities that share each revenue, such as entity ID, billing type, and revenue share. The OFCS 526 then sends the integrated CDR to the billing system 506. Although the OFCS 526 is shown in this embodiment as correlating the CDRs, the billing controller 524 may correlate the CDRs in other embodiments.

The billing system 506 may then perform a settlement process based on the data contained in the integrated CDR to generate billing invoices for entities sharing each revenue and generate vouchers or credits. In the example above, Verizon Wireless will receive a $ 20 voucher from OnStar and Border Phone will receive a $ 10 voucher from Verizon Wireless for this call. The billing system 506 does not need to perform this process because the billing controller 524 has already distributed the revenue for the call in the integrated CDR. The billing system 506 needs to issue vouchers to the appropriate entities for the revenue dividends shown in the integrated CDR.

Any of the various elements shown in the Figures or described herein may be implemented in hardware, software, firmware, or some combination thereof. For example, the element may be implemented as dedicated hardware. Dedicated hardware elements may be referred to as "processors," " controllers, " or some similar terminology. When provided by a processor, the functions may be provided by a single dedicated processor, a single shared processor, or a plurality of separate processors, some of which may be shared. Also, the explicit use of the term " processor "or" controller "should not be construed to refer exclusively to hardware capable of executing software and may be embodied in the form of digital signal processor (DSP) hardware, network processors, application specific integrated circuits But are not limited to, other circuitry, a field programmable gate array (FPGA), read only memory (ROM), random access memory (RAM), non-volatile store, logic, or some other physical hardware component or module that stores software It can also be included as an enemy.

An element may also be implemented as instructions executable by a processor or a computer to perform the functions of the element. Some examples of commands are software, program code, and firmware. The instructions, when executed by the processor, are operative to instruct the processor to perform the function of the element. The instructions may be stored on storage devices readable by the processor. Some examples of storage devices are digital or solid state memories, magnetic storage media such as magnetic disks and magnetic tapes, hard drives, or optically readable digital data storage media.

Although specific embodiments have been described herein, the scope of the invention is not limited to these specific embodiments. The scope of the invention is defined by the following claims and any equivalents thereof.

102: mobile network 104: billing system
106: billing system 112, 113: network element
124: charging controller 132: rating engine
140, 141: Mobile device

Claims (20)

  1. In a billing system,
    A billing controller coupled to the mobile network and an online billing system,
    Wherein the billing controller receives billing data for a call in the mobile network and processes the billing data and billing rules for the call to identify a plurality of entities having a dividend of revenue for the call, Generating a charging request message indicating the plurality of entities having a revenue dividend in the call and transmitting the charging request message to the online charging system so that the online charging system determines the revenue sharing for each of the plurality of entities The billing system being operable to:
  2. The method according to claim 1,
    Receiving a billing request message from the billing controller, identifying a profile for each of the plurality of entities with a revenue dividend, and determining a profit share for each of the plurality of entities based on the profile and rating of the plurality of entities And generate billing records indicative of the revenue share for each of the plurality of entities and to transmit the billing records to the billing controller.
  3. 3. The method of claim 2,
    Wherein the billing records each include an entity ID, a billing type, and a revenue share amount.
  4. The method of claim 3,
    Wherein the revenue dividend represents an amount to be paid to another entity.
  5. 3. The method of claim 2,
    The billing controller is further operable to receive the accounting records, correlate the accounting records to generate a consolidated accounting record indicating the revenue share for each of the plurality of entities, and to transmit the consolidated accounting records to the billing system Possible, billing system.
  6. The method according to claim 1,
    Wherein said billing rules include retailing rules defining conditions for retail charging.
  7. The method according to claim 1,
    Wherein the billing rules include wholesale rules that define conditions for wholesale charging.
  8. The method according to claim 1,
    Wherein the charging rules include interconnecting rules defining conditions for interconnect charging.
  9. The method according to claim 1,
    Wherein the billing rules include content rules that define conditions for content charging.
  10. The method according to claim 1,
    Wherein the charging rules include roaming rules that define conditions for roaming charging.
  11. A method for determining a dividend of call revenue to a call,
    Receiving billing data for a call placed on the mobile network at a billing controller coupled to the mobile network and the online billing system;
    Processing the billing data and billing rules for the call to identify a plurality of entities having a dividend of revenue for the call;
    Generating a charging request message indicating the plurality of entities with revenue sharing in the call; And
    And sending the billing request message to the online billing system to allow the online billing system to determine the revenue dividend for each of the plurality of entities.
  12. 12. The method of claim 11,
    Receiving the charging request message from the charging controller in the online charging system;
    Identifying a profile for each of the plurality of entities having a revenue dividend;
    Determining a revenue share for each of the plurality of entities based on a profile and rating of the plurality of entities;
    Generating accounting records indicating the revenue share for each of the plurality of entities; And
    Further comprising transmitting said billing records from said on-line billing system to said billing controller.
  13. 13. The method of claim 12,
    Wherein the billing records include an entity ID, a billing type, and the revenue share, respectively.
  14. 14. The method of claim 13,
    The method of determining the dividend of call revenue to a call, wherein the revenue dividend represents an amount to be paid to another entity.
  15. 13. The method of claim 12,
    Receiving the charging records from the charging controller from the online charging system;
    Correlating the billing records to generate a consolidated billing record indicating the revenue share for each of the plurality of entities; And
    Further comprising the step of transmitting the consolidated billing record from the billing controller to the billing system.
  16. 12. The method of claim 11,
    Wherein said billing rules include retailing rules defining conditions for retail billing.
  17. 12. The method of claim 11,
    Wherein the billing rules include wholesale rules that define conditions for wholesale billing.
  18. 12. The method of claim 11,
    Wherein the billing rules include interconnecting rules that define conditions for interconnecting charging.
  19. 12. The method of claim 11,
    Wherein the billing rules include content rules that define conditions for content billing.
  20. 12. The method of claim 11,
    Wherein the charging rules include roaming rules that define conditions for roaming charging.
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